'A symbol of resilience': Mancunians on the power of the bee tattoo one year since the Manchester Arena attack

  • By ITV News Multimedia Producer Ryan Ramgobin

The devastating terror attack at the Manchester Arena on May 22 2017 shook a city to its very core.

From the initial emotions of anger, sadness and disbelief came acts of defiance - thousands of them - in the form of a bee.

The bee has been a symbol of Mancunians’ hard work ethic for over 150 years, first coming to prominence during the 1800s and the Industrial Revolution.

Tattoo artist Samantha Barber collaborated with other artists in Manchester to create the Manchester Tattoo Appeal and raised money for victims of the terror attack.

They offered tattoos of the Manchester bee for £50.

Word spread worldwide and the initiative raised “somewhere around £600,000 over the space of a few days".

Barber told ITV News: “When it’s your own city, you feel like you have to do something. There has to be a way that you can help some way. We never realised how big it was going to be.”

Money has been used to support the charity Climbing Out which has helped young people suffering with physical and mental trauma triggered by the attack.

“We’re trying to help as many people as possible especially young people because it was an attack directed at them”, Barber said.

A letter written by a young child affected by the terror attack thanking Climbing Out and the Manchester Tattoo Appeal Credit: Manchester Tattoo Appeal

A year on from the terror attack, Mancunians are still inking up.

69-year-old Jacqueline Johnson has lived in Manchester for her entire life and her first tattoo was on Sunday.

“The Manchester bee is reminiscent of the Manchester bomb last year.”, Johnson told ITV News.

“I felt last year that I should have come and had the tattoo done in remembrance of the people that died and it’s taken me twelve months to pluck up the courage to have it done.”

  • Donations can be made to the Manchester Tattoo Appeal on their JustGiving page